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Social Psych - Sept 12/2012.docx

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Christian Jordan

Social Psych September 12/2012 Social Psychology and Common Sense  “Beauty and brains don’t mix” o WRONG – more beautiful = perceived smarter, positive qualities grouped together  Larger rewards make people enjoy activities more o Undermine enjoyment  People believe they’re more unique than they really are o Biased to perceive to think they are more similar to others  Violent games release aggression, making people less aggressive o Increase aggression The common sense criticism “Day after day social scientists go into the world and discover that people’s behaviors is pretty much what you’d expect” Problems with the common-sense criticism: 1. Common wisdom is unclear, ambiguous, contradictory - E.g. common proverbs “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” vs. “you’re never too old to learn” 2. Common wisdom is often inaccurate, or incomplete - E.g., Fundamental attribution error - The tendency to overestimate personality as a cause of others’ behavior and to underestimate the power of the situation o Neglect situational factors – if someone shows aggression they have an aggressive personality 3. Hindsight Bias (I-knew-it-all-along effect) - Experiment demonstrating the hidsight bias (Fischoff, 1975) o Participants were presented with factual questions such as:  Which magazine had the highest circulation in 1970? Time_______ Playboy_____ o Condition – estimate the likelihood that you have answered the question before knowing the answer o Condition 2 – after knowing the answer, estimate the likelihood that you would have answered correctly if you had not been told the answer Research Methods Social Psychology Methods  Social psychology is a science  Empirical – based on direct observation  Test hypotheses against systematic observation Hypotheses and variables  Hypothesis: Statement about how two or more variables are thought to be related o E.g., increased exposure to media violence leads to increases in aggression o Will often be causal, “X causes Y”  Independent variable (IV): o The presumed cause (in a casual hypothesis)  Dependent variable (DV): o The presumed effect (in a causal hypothesis)  Theory: An organized set of principles that can be used to explain observed phenomena  Social psychologists engage in a continual pr
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